A rear-end view of the cows leaving the barn has become a familiar every-morning sight. For the last few weeks, since the weather took a turn for the freezing, I’ve been walking through the dim lower barn, toting buckets of warm water and feed, on the way to the chickenhouse. In nice weather, it’s easier and more pleasant to walk outside through the barnyard. This route has the advantage of no wind and no icy patches. It’s a bit of a winding road: into the minimally heated well pump room (heated so the pipes don’t freeze) where the 40kg (88lb) sacks of feed are stored, out the inner door into the dark and chilly lower barn, head down past the empty milking stalls (from dairy farm days), straight towards the window into the loafing barn where the cows come in at night, hard left, down another stretch between pens, unlatch a side door, head outside for a short walk, and it’s in with the chickens… A new daily routine for my first winter with the birds.